Ponyboy, Sodapop, and Darry are three brothers taking care of each other, after being orphaned as teenagers. Darry was the oldest, around...morePlot Summary:
Ponyboy, Sodapop, and Darry are three brothers taking care of each other, after being orphaned as teenagers. Darry was the oldest, around 19 or 20, and was most like the father figure of their situation. Ponyboy was the youngest and the main character of this story. There were three kinds of people in this small town; greasers, socs and the people in the middle. The greasers and the socs (pronounced sow-sh and short for socials) were constantly at each other’s throats. They would pick fights, and greasers were to the point that they could not even walk home alone, without getting jumped by a group of socs. These three brothers also belonged to a "gang" of sorts. Not a real gang, but a group of guys that looked out for one another. One day, something horrible happens in a gang fight, and Ponyboy and his best friend Johnny have to run away. This is a classic story of right and wrong -- good vs. evil -- good side of town -- bad side of town, set in the 50's or 60's.
The youngest of three brothers, Ponyboy is "spoiled" and given every opportunity to excel, even if he doesn't see it that way. He is too nice to be a legitimate "greaser," but that title falls on people based on where you live and how rich you are, not on how you act and what you feel. Pony boy loves movies, sunsets, and reading.
Sodapop's real name is Sodapop... says so on his birth certificate. He is the middle child of three brothers and had the best looks of the three. Girls fawned all over him and he loved it. Of all of the greaser's he was the only one that never touched alcohol. Ponyboy seemed to think Sodapop was just drunk on life. Soda dropped out of school, because he says he is dumb, but really Darry needed help paying the bills to keep the brothers together.
Darry was the oldest of all three brothers and the father figure of the house. He graduated high school and was a roofer. In high school he was on the football teams, and could've gotten a scholarship to go to college if it weren't for his family obligations. This was one of his biggest regrets, and is why he is hard on Ponyboy about going to school.
Key Issues: Social Class, Gangs, Coming of Age
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I gave this book five out of five stars because it was AMAZING! It was an easy read, and very enjoyable. It is something that I would definitely want in my future classroom and would love to teach. (less)
Plot Summary: A shamer is a person that can look into your eyes, and make you feel ashamed of everything you've done wrong. This is an especially help...morePlot Summary: A shamer is a person that can look into your eyes, and make you feel ashamed of everything you've done wrong. This is an especially helpful gift when it is used to help judge if a person is guilty of stronger crimes. Dina's mother, Mellussina, is a "Shamer," and recently Dina inherited the gift as well. Dina is a preteen and wants desperately to have friends, but people don't like to feel shame for their actions and so they also do not like to have Dina around. One day, a man from another village arrives and is seeking Dina's mother's gifts in helping discover the culprit of a heinous set of murders. A young boy named Nicolas, who was in a lineage to eventually inherit power over this township, was accused of murdering three people in his family in a "drunken" rage. Dina's Mother does not see that Nicolas is guilty, and says so. Nicolas' Uncle Drakan is not pleased and sends for Dina to use as leverage against Mellussina, to get her to say what he wants her to say. But the plan backfires as Dina's new gift also perceives Nicolas to be innocent. With the help of Dina, Nicolas escapes jail, and goes into hiding. That is, until Mellussina is found guilty of treason, and is to be fed to the dragons. Will Dina and Nicolas come up with a plan to save Mellussina? Will Nicolas' name be cleared of all charges? Will Dina ever make a friend that can look her in the eye? All these questions have an answer in the end of the book, which ends in an unexpected way.
Dina: Dina is the preteen main character; she is a young girl who just inherited the "shamer's gift" and has found her life incredibly changed from it. She wants to make friends and fit in with the people of her town. She wants people to be able to look her in the eye, instead of turning their gaze away from her if she approaches them. This story is really journey that Dina goes on to finding self-acceptance and confidence in her gift.
Nicolas: Nicolas is around 18 years old and has been known to get into trouble. He was the black sheep of the family, because he was illegitimate and most did not want him to ascend to power. He cannot remember much of anything of the night in question, though he works hard to piece it all together. Nicolas is in the process of growing up and becoming more responsible.
Key Issues: Difference, Acceptance, Fantasy
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I enjoyed the contrast of people that could look a Shamer in the eye. Drakan, who is the villain in this story, could look Dina and her mother in the eye with NO SHAME, even though he was a harsh man, who had things he should've been ashamed of. Nicolas could look Dina in the eye, and even though he felt shame, he also felt encouragement. I gave this book a five out of five star rating because it was a quick, easy, fun, interesting read. It is the first book of a series and I would be interesting in picking up the next few books. I think it has great moral undertones and a good message of self-acceptance to its readers. (less)
Anya and Keely were best friends in kindergarten, but sometimes friends drift apart over the years, and these two did. The girls are now...morePlot Summary:
Anya and Keely were best friends in kindergarten, but sometimes friends drift apart over the years, and these two did. The girls are now in 5th grade and have the same teacher, Mrs. Hobson. Anya begins to lose her hair in November of this school year, and is almost completely bald by the end of winter break. Her parents take her to the wig store and buy her a wig that looks "just like" her normal hair. Keely and her friends notice the first day back from winter break that there is something wrong with Anya. They are afraid that she has cancer, and no one has told them there was anything wrong. Keely's friend Stef wants Keely to tug on Anya's hair to prove that it is a wig. Keely is concerned for her old friend's feelings, health, and well-being. Keely must have the strength to do the right things and Anya has to face her challenges and learn that it is okay to be different.
Keely: Keely is in the fifth grade and she is a follower. Her best friends are Stef, Tory, and Nicole, and they always listen to whatever Stef wants to do. Keely has on numerous occasions, bullied other children because that is what Stef wanted. She was so terrified that she would not have any friends, if she did not do what they asked. This story does show the journey that Keely takes in finding the strength to become a leader, not a follower, and standing up for what she believes in.
Anya: Anya is also in the 5th grade. She has been diagnosed with a disease which makes her hair fall out. She is terrified of the other children making fun of her, or noticing her new wig. This story shows the path that Anya takes in accepting the changes in her life and becoming more comfortable with herself.
This book was very heart warming. Everyone knows what it feels like to be different and be worried about what others may think of you. Especially, in 5th grade, when a young person is just starting to reach out to find their identity. The most relatable quote I found in the book was "'I can't go to school looking like this,' Anya thought.’ Everyone is going to laugh at me.'" This shot novel has a lexile rating of 710, and falls into the range of 4th to 6th grade reading material. I feel that it would be a great read for anyone in that range and even older. (less)
The city of Wellmet is trying to recover from the recent theft of all of its magic, now that the magic has been returned. It is weaker th...morePlot Summary:
The city of Wellmet is trying to recover from the recent theft of all of its magic, now that the magic has been returned. It is weaker than before and Nevery and the other wizards are still trying to figure out what is going on. Connwaer, who is Nevery's assistant, had his locus stone (which is a stone that allows wizards to use magic) destroyed in the explosion that set the magic free in Wellmet. When the explosion happened, Conn was sure that the magic spoke to him. He became quite obsessed with figuring out a way to do a small explosion that would do little damage, but allow him to talk to the magic of Wellmet (which he considers to be a living being). Soon, strange things begin to happen in Wellmet. People start turning to stone statues, and many people see strange shadowy figures lurking the streets, homes, and even around the castle at night. Nevery and the magistars have a new purpose of finding where these shadows were coming from. Conn was sure that the magic was going to tell him... if he could just get the explosion big enough... This journey is exciting and even better than book one!
Main Characters: Connwaer: He is a young boy that was raised on “the wrong side of town”, quite literally. Conn is now a wizard's apprentice, even though he lost his locus stone. He has started to have a keen interest in pyrotechnics which is exactly what got Nevery into trouble 20 year ago.
Nevery: Nevery is an old wizard, who is having a hard time with Conn making some of his own previous mistakes. He wants to guide Conn to do what's right but has a hard time relating to what the boy is going through.
Benet: Benet is the “hired muscle” for Nevery and Connwaer. He is more of a domestic help in this edition of the book again, although he does end up getting turned to stone when saving Conn from the infamous "shadows."
Key Issues: Fantasy, Magic, Good vs. Evil
Other Interesting Information:
I "read" this book as an Audiobook, and I must say I'm unsure if I enjoyed it as much as reading it myself. I almost wished there were more sound effects, and that I enjoyed the way I read the book to myself more than having someone read it to me. I did give it five out of five stars, because it was much better than the first one! It was a page turner with a great plot. I would love to have it in my classroom in the future. (less)
David's life is wonderful in the beginning, what he calls "the good years." His Mother and Father were happy together and he and his two...morePlot Summary:
David's life is wonderful in the beginning, what he calls "the good years." His Mother and Father were happy together and he and his two brothers had fun playing and taking vacations with their family. Then David's mother began to drink more, and she began to blame him for things that he had no control over, especially at five years old. Then the abuse started, for example, his Mother would starve him and beat him, among other horrible, degrading, and almost life threatening acts of abuse. David did whatever he could to survive, and his life was this way for many years. This story chronicles the abuse that occurred and how David dealt with it as a child.
David is a strong boy whose soul is being beating down, quite literally. He wants to have the strength to stand up to his mother, but every time he does, the abuse just gets worse. He ends up hating everyone in the story: family, friends of the family, and the adults at his school. He is very sure that his life will remain in this abusive state, until he dies.
Catherine Roerva: This is the name of David's mother in the story, I am sure he name was changed to protect her identity. She has some type of an emotional breakdown that causes her to abuse her son David. Every time she drinks she does horrible things to him, and even when she is not drunk she is a horrible parent to him. She only treats David this way, or it would appear to be that way because the story is written from David's perspective.
Key Issues: Abuse and Survival
Other Interesting information:
I never wanted to read this book. I had heard of it many times, but avoided it at all costs. When I realized I needed to read a Non-Fiction book for my class this week, I decided it may be time to finally read this story. It is as bad, if not worse than I expected, as far as how horrible the abuse this child had to endure. I am surprised that the author lasted in that household at all. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, and now realize why so many people had recommended it to me. I gave this book five out of five stars, because even though the material is unsettling, it is something that everyone needs to help stop from happening. So many people could've helped to end David's suffering and never took notice, or tried to help. It should be everyone's job to help save children from abuse, and this book really makes a statement of how important that job is. (less)
Plot Summary: This story is set far into the future, when America has depleted its resources, and now many people survive by stripping down everything...morePlot Summary: This story is set far into the future, when America has depleted its resources, and now many people survive by stripping down everything they can get their hands on, for copper, tin, steel, iron, and oil (if they're really lucky). Also, the climate has now changed; the story is set in Bright Sands Beach, where Nailer, who is the story's main character, works on a "light crew." A "light crew" means that you are scavenging for light weight material, for instance copper wire. Bright Sands Beach is located near present day New Orleans is. The climate change that has happened to this area brings in hurricanes that they call "city killers." One night a city killer of a hurricane comes in and wipes out most of Bright Sands Beach. Nailer and his best friend Pima were lucky that they and their families survived. The day after the storm blew through, Pima and Nailer head out to look for crabs near an island of the coast. There they find the best scavenge yet, a "clipper" boat that has been grounded by the storm. Clipper boats were used by "swanks," which are people who had money, and did not have to live in a hovel on the beach. When they go to tear the boat apart for its resources, they find a young rich girl named Rita, who needs their help to get away. This is where the main plot of the story intertwines. Rita's father owns one of the resourcing companies that Pima and Nailer collect precious metals for. She was being chased into the storm by enemies of her father that wanted to kidnap her and use her as leverage. Nailer leaves Bright Sands Beach on an adventure, to keep Nita safe and help change his fates.
Nailer Lopez: Nailer is a young man who does not know his age. He knows that he is younger than his best friend Pima who is 16 and that he is in general small for "his age." His father is a druggie/drunk, who is useless, the majority of the time, and beats him up whenever his is drunk or "sliding." Nailer is proud that he was vouched for to work on a "light crew" pulling copper wire out of an old freight steamer that had grounded ashore. He has a near death experience, when he falls out of an air duct, into a pocket of oil in the steamer he was working in. After that, he started to value his life. He also holds a strict loyalty to a system of people who are his "crew."
Pima: Pima is Nailer's best friend and social support network. She has vouched for him to be able to work on her crew on a local scavenge of a steamer. Pima and her mother are Nailer's safety net whenever his father abuses him; they are there to pick up the pieces. When Nailer leaves, Pima decides to stay behind, her concept of family was strong and she could not leave her mother.
Nita: Nita is a young daughter of a very rich man. In the beginning of the story, she is liar, whose loyalties are somewhat sketchy. But as the story progresses, her maturity and willingness to help survive helps to build her character. She is the most beautiful girl Nailer has ever seen, which is why she becomes his love interest.
Nailer is determined to change his fate without undermining his character. The fact that he is not willing to kill Nita, at first, because of her gold, showed that he had experienced something that changed who he was. Pima was willing to kill Nita, but that was portrayed as being a very common reaction to their "lucky strike." I love the way the story has portrayed America in the future. Our climate change, the way we've complete depleted our resources, and the way people are living really makes a statement about where the Author feels that we are headed as a society. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars. It was amazing, and I could not put it down. I think that there are strong ideas that are being inferred by the Author's Dystopia/Utopia themes throughout, and a good read for anyone who liked the Hunger Games, or The Uglies. (less)
Plot Summary: Eric Calhoune is a chunky adolescent boy. He has a low self-esteem and no courage to stand up for himself. He finds a friend in a young...morePlot Summary: Eric Calhoune is a chunky adolescent boy. He has a low self-esteem and no courage to stand up for himself. He finds a friend in a young girl named Sarah Byrnes. Sarah was severely burned on her face and hands as a toddler, and suffers from much of the same social issues as Eric does as an overweight child. One day Sarah Byrnes stopped talking. She stopped responding. So they took her to the hospital to stay in the psychiatric ward until they could figure out what was wrong. Eric Calhoune visited her every day. The story touches on the importance of friendship, religious conflicts, abuse, bullying, and high school swim team. Eric wants to help his friend through whatever is happening to her, he needs to find the courage to stand up and do what is right.
Eric Calhoune: Eric is a typical senior guy, loves music, food, girls, and swim team. He is overweight but has slimmed down some since he started swimming. His nickname is Moby, which is a joke relating to what he looks like in a tank swimsuit. He is a compassionate boy who cares about his friend Sarah Byrnes, who he is trying to help come out of an emotional breakdown. Throughout the story he gains courage and strength from the strength Sarah Byrnes shows every day.
Sarah Byrnes: Sarah Byrnes only responds to people by her full name. She is aware of the jokes that related her last name to her physical condition. When she was three years old, she was severely burned on her face and hands. She felt that she needed to be mean most of her life to be able to overcome her outward appearance. She is extremely bright and cherishes the friendship she has in Eric.
Steve Ellerby: Steve is one of Eric’s best friends. He is the son of a liberal preacher in town, and he has religious contradictions painted and attached to his vehicle to make a public statement about religion. Steve is one of the grounding, constant people in Eric’s life as everything seems to be getting out of hand. He is reliable and a resourceful.
Cynthia Lemry: The book refers to the character mostly by her last name. Ms. Lemry, Coach Lemry, or just Lemry. She is the teacher that is trusted throughout this journey and can be counted on in most dire situations. She is a liberal personality, who is a feminist at heart.
I cannot decide if I like the way that that the characters in this story really own what they consider “faults.” For example they write an underground newspaper and they name it “Crispy Pork Rinds” Literally, Crispy because of Sarah Byrnes’ face and hands, Pork because of Eric Calhoune weight, and Rinds, because they were printing “what other newspapers left out.” While it’s humorous to the reader, it really is reinforcing the children’s horrible self-esteem! I gave the book a 5 out of 5 star rating because it is definetly something that I would want in my classroom, as a future teacher. Young adults need to understand eachother's differences and treat one another with more respect. They never know what the other person's life might be like.(less)
This is the story about a young boy, about twelve years of age, who is living by himself in the timekeeper's quarters of a train station. The timekeep...moreThis is the story about a young boy, about twelve years of age, who is living by himself in the timekeeper's quarters of a train station. The timekeeper was Hugo's Uncle, had mysteriously disappeared a few weeks prior. He had taught Hugo how to maintain all of the clocks in the train station, and how to keep them on time, which Hugo did each day. Hugo has another job, which takes up a lot of his time otherwise. He has an automaton, which is like a robotic machine that was built to do a specific task. Hugo thought this Automaton was built to write. His father had found it in the attic of the museum where he had worked at. Both Hugo and his father had an obsession with trying to get the machine to work again. Hugo began stealing parts from a toy store in the station, to help fix his machine. And he gets caught by the storekeeper named George. This story is the life of a little boy, and the secret, painful life of the shopkeeper. This story was fantastic. The illustrations are great and the story really pulls you in. I love Hugo and Isabelle in this story, and their friendship dynamics are great too. Hugo is a very distant boy; he keeps many secrets so that he will not be sent away. He originally does not want much to do with Isabelle, except she offers to help him get his journal back from her godfather, George. Isabelle tries very hard to become Hugo's friend, and wants him to share things with her. Even though, some of the things she shares with Hugo are not the truthful. I think some key phrases that would describe this book would be "Mystery" and "Love". The mystery revolves around the automaton, and the love revolves around Hugo's love for his family and George's love of something in his past. I love the historical context of this book, being based on a real person is pretty neat, and I like the setting of Paris, in a time when clocks still had to be manually wound. I did give this book a five out of five, because it was easy to read, enjoyable, and the illustrations were great!(less)
August Pullman has been homeschooled his whole life. This choice was made to facilitate his health care needs, as well as shelter him fr...morePlot Summary:
August Pullman has been homeschooled his whole life. This choice was made to facilitate his health care needs, as well as shelter him from the cruelty of other children. August was born with a genetic disorder, which caused malformation of his face. After many painful surgeries, he looks better today than he did before, but his face is still a shock. The summer before entering what would be "the fifth grade" in homeschooling, August's mom drops a surprise on him. How does August feel about school? That fall August began his journey at Beecher Prep Middle School, and the year takes him on quite an adventure. The goal of the year for this young man is to be treated just like everyone else. What will it take to open the eyes of the other Beecher Prep students, to the kindness this boy needs? And how will the strength that one young person shows, affect those around him?
August Pullman: A young man of strong character, who has a brilliant mind, and is anything but ordinary.
Via Pullman: August's Sister. She is very protective of her younger brother, but has to deal with conflicting feelings about him as she enters a new High School and can't decide if she wants other people to know about him.
Jack Will: Jack gets assigned to be a "Welcome Buddy" for August as he enters the new school. As much as Jack did not want this assignment, he and August both benefitted and grew as people because of their new friendship.
Summer: Summer also befriends August, but she does it of her own free will. Regardless of the "cost" it will be to her socially.
August's English Teacher, Mr. Browne, has a project he calls "Precepts," in which he gives his students a prompt to write about and think about over the course of a month. All of these precepts require deeper (less)